The Smiths: What Difference Does It Make?

“All men have secrets and here is mine so let it be known………”

They call today Blue Monday, not in awe of New Order, but something to do with every one being miserable because it’s the middle of winter. Quite apt then that 30 years ago today The Smiths released their third single “What Difference Does It Make?”. (Rough Trade RT146) I remember going through to Volume Records to buy it and boy did it cheer me up. A twangy Marr riff over which Morrissey ponders the whole point of human existence. A week later it crashed into the charts at number 26 finally reaching the heady heights of number 12. A few iconic Top of the Pops appearances followed with Morrissey firstly resplendent in a hearing aid and then National Health spectacles!!

The original sleeve featured Terence Stamp in an outtake from the film “The Collector” (1965). He was playing repressed extremist Freddie Clegg, in his hand he holds a pad soaked in chloroform with which to overpower his prey. Stamp objected to the photograph and it was quickly changed to a picture of Morrissey striking a similar pose only he is holding a glass of milk. (The only time a member of The Smiths appeared on any of their sleeves.) Funnily enough Stamp later gave his permission for the original sleeve to be re-used. In a strange twist Stamp almost appeared on another single; The Headmaster Ritual to be released in Holland. In a still from the film “Term of Trial” (1962) he is about to be caned by Sir Laurence Olivier. This time it was Olivier who objected and a different photo was used.

“As you cycled by here began all my dreams. The saddest thing I’ve ever seen.”

As well as the lead track the release also contained two more examples of how wonderful The Smiths were. The B side to the seven inch was the maudlin “Back to the Old House” a sad tale of longing to go back to times lost. Genuinely one of the saddest Smiths songs making it probably the saddest song ever!! And I love it. One of my favourites. The extra track on the twelve inch is the truly magnificent “These Things Take Time” a joyful scream depicting “the wounds of unfulfilment.” Indeed.

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the sacred wunderkind. You took me behind a dis-used railway line. And said “I know a place where we can go where we are not known” And then you gave me something that I won’t forget too soon……….”

LINKS:

TOP OF THE POPS (Hearing Aid): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upK-yhCY7cY

TOP OF THE POPS: (National Health Specs) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5DE8UQnM5Y

BACK TO THE OLD HOUSE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiFzKNmeeSw

THESE THINGS TAKE TIME: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izRcjhhzZEU

By peter on January 20, 2014


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